KANGAR, Jan 7, 2015:

The federal government imposed the moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang because the people there are suffering from water and environmental pollution, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said he hoped that the Pahang government would ensure that the industry implemented the measures to resolve the pollution.

The federal government yesterday announced a three-month moratorium from Jan 15 on bauxite mining in Pahang and outlined measures the industry must implement during the period to stop the pollution.

The measures include clearing all bauxite stockpiles, setting up of an integrated storage area and implementing a bauxite waste treatment system.

Shahidan spoke to Bernama after a meeting with a virtual media group at Denai Larian here last night.

Shahidan said the torching of a bauxite transport lorry by Kuantan folk on Dec 22 apparently due to inaction by the Pahang government should be viewed seriously.

“I do not rule out the possibility of interference by vested parties in the bauxite mining but drastic and firm action must be taken to ensure the well-being of the people.

“Whether there is a hidden hand at work or otherwise is secondary. I am not aware of that. It is important that we resolve this issue that has angered the people of Kuantan,” he said.

Uncontrolled bauxite mining in Bukit Goh, Gebeng and Kuantan Port from the middle of 2014 has resulted in the nearby residents having to put up with water and environmental pollution that has turned rivers, beaches and the sea red.

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